Aztekium hintonii

Aztekium hintonii

Scientific Name

Aztekium hintonii Glass & W.A.Fitz Maur.

Scientific Classification

Family: Cactaceae
Subfamily: Cactoideae
Tribe: Cacteae
Genus: Aztekium


Aztekium hintonii is a slow-growing, globular to shortly columnar, usually solitary cactus. The stem is grayish-green, slightly woolly at the apex, up to 8 inches (20 cm) tall and up to 4 inches (10 cm) in diameter. It has 10 to 15 ribs, well defined, traversed by tiny wrinkles and up to 0.5 inches (1.3 cm) deep. The short-lived spines are grayish-white, curved and up to 0.5 inch (1.3 cm) long. The flowers are diurnal, magenta, up to 1.2 inches (3 cm) in diameter and appear in summer.


USDA hardiness zones 10a to 11b: from 30 °F (−1.1 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).

How to Grow and Care

Aztekiums are by far the most challenging and difficult cacti to grow. They are having extremely slow growth, probably the slowest of the entire Cactus family. They usually take several years for growth to be even noticeable. Once a specimen is established on its own roots it is no trouble to keep it and becomes an easy plant to manage.

Because of the difficulty of cultivation, Aztekiums are most often grafted to hardier stock. They need good drainage and regular water in summer. Keep nearly totally dry in winter. If grafted, the plants can take a little more water. Just remember the graft stock is also a cactus and will rot if overwatered. Provide shade from midday through the afternoon. A little morning sun is OK.

Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Aztekium.


Aztekium hintonii is endemic to Nuevo León, Mexico.


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Aztekium Species


Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant suitable for xeriscaping

Average Water Needs Water regularly do not overwater

Sun Exposure:


Foliage Color:




USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 °C (30 °F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 °C (35 °F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 °C (40 °F)

Where to Grow:

Can be grown as an annual


Plant has spines or sharp edges use extreme caution when handling

Bloom Color:

Bloom Characteristics:

Bloom Size:

Bloom Time:

Other details:

Soil pH requirements:

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:

From seed sow indoors before last frost

From seed direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:

Allow unblemished fruit to ripen clean and dry seeds

Unblemished fruit must be significantly overripe before harvesting seed clean and dry seeds

Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:


Aztekium ritteri is a small plant (around 20 mm wide), with 9 to 11 ribs, which typically have transverse wrinkles. Its color varies from pale green to grayish-green. The center of the cactus contains a lot of white wool. Flowers are small (less than 10 mm wide), with white petals and pinkish sepals. The plants bear small pinkish berry-like fruits. A. hintonii is larger, to 10 cm in diameter, 10 to 18 grooved ribs, flowers magenta to 3 cm. It grows only on gypsum.

Species Edit

Its name is dedicated to the Aztec people, due to the resemblance between the plant's shape and certain Aztec sculptures. [ citation needed ]

This genus is found only in the state of Nuevo León in Mexico. It was estimated [ by whom? ] that there were in the order of tens of millions of plants of A. hintonii, and at present most of its range is pristine. [ citation needed ] Though A. ritteri has been collected for decades and there has been destruction of its habitat, the number of plants in habitat is several million. [ citation needed ]

These species grow extremely slowly, taking around two years to attain a diameter of 3 mm. They are usually propagated by seeds. [ citation needed ]

The plants contain the following compounds [ citation needed ] :

  1. ^"Genus: Aztekium Boed". Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. 2012-04-16 . Retrieved 2012-07-31 .
  2. ^
  3. "GRIN Species Records of Aztekium". Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture . Retrieved 2012-07-31 .
  4. ^
  5. "Aztekium valdeziiVelazco, M.A.Alvarado & S.Arias". Plants of the World Online. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew . Retrieved 2019-08-01 .

Media related to Aztekium at Wikimedia Commons Data related to Aztekium at Wikispecies

Aztekium hintonii - garden

Origin and Habitat: Aztekium hintonii is a narrowly endemic species restricted to a very small area in Galeana, Nuevo Leon, Mexico (area of occupancy are about 50 km²). The area is essentially a single location. The estimates in population size vary considerably, with 100,000 being an agreed lower limit and well over one million the upper limit (some people have estimated over 42 million individuals).
Altitude range: It occurs at an elevation of around 1,200 metres above sea level.
Habitat and ecology: This cactus is a soil specialist, i.e., a gypsophile. It grows in semi-desert shrubland, in a landscape of sharply incised gypsum and limestone canyons where it clings in great numbers to almost vertical walls, but A. hintonii grows more fully exposed to the sun than Aztekium ritteri, which tends to embed itself deeply into its canyon walls. A. hintonii and Geohintonia mexicana grows and coexist at some locations in the same general habitat of small, steep canyons and gypsum outcrops. It is threatened by ongoing illegal collection. However, the population is extremely large and the collecting does not seem to be causing any declines. Hence, the species is listed as Near Threatened.

Accepted name in llifle Database:
Aztekium hintonii Glass & W.A.Fitz Maur.
Cact. Suc. Mex. 37(1): 13 (1992)

Description: It is a solitary globular to shortly columnar cactus (rarely clustering forming clumps of a few heads ).
Stem: Greyish-green globular and squat, (rarely short columnar) reaching 20 cm by 10 cm in size, apex slightly woolly.
Ribs: 10-15 acute, 6-12 mm deep, very pronounced, axil sharp. The deeply indented grooves between its ribs lack the secondary ribs of A. ritteri, and though it shares the transverse grooves, they are smaller and more symmetrically arranged.
Areoles: Small and very numerous along the edge of each ribs, woolly in youth, up to 4 mm apart.
Spines: 3, curved up to 13 mm long, greyish-white short lived not distinguishable as centrals and radials. Spines often are absent in mature areoles, even in young areoles they are highly reduced and very brittle.
Flowers: Diurnal, magenta 1-3 cm in diameter borne at the stem tip, flower tube basally woolly.
Blooming season: July – August when summer temperatures are at their maximum.Fruit:t: Round to elongated. Hidden within the woolly top, naked, smooth, thin walled, drying at maturity, that loses the perianth residual.Seeds: : Shiny brownish black, tuberculate ± 1m long and 0,5 mm in diameter. Hilum obscured by a strophiole.

Subspecies, varieties, forms and cultivars of plants belonging to the Aztekium hintonii group

Notes: About taxonomy: The genus Aztekium contains three species of small globular cactus. Discovered in 1929 by F. Ritter, in Rayones, Nuevo León, Mexico, this genus was thought to be monotypic (with Aztekium ritteri) until a second species (Aztekium hintonii) was discovered by George S. Hinton, in Galeana, Nuevo León in 1991. A further species, Aztekium valdesii, was discovered in 2011 by M.A. Alvarado Vázquez in the Sierra Madre Oriental mountains of Nuevo León. . Aztekium Clade (consisting of Aztekium and Geohintonia) represents a relictual, yet highly specialized lineage forming a sister group to the remaining taxa of the tribe Cacteae. It is suggested that Geohintonia may represent an intergeneric hybrid involving Aztekium (probably Aztekium hintonii which is sympatric with Geohintonia ) and possibly Echinocactus horizonthalonius.

Bibliography: Major references and further lectures
1) Edward F. Anderson “The Cactus Family” Timber Press, 2001
3) James Cullen, Sabina G. Knees, H. Suzanne Cubey “The European Garden Flora Flowering Plants: A Manual for the Identification of Plants Cultivated in Europe, Both Out-of-Doors and Under Glass” Cambridge University Press, 11/ago/2011
4) David Hunt, Nigel Taylor “The New Cactus Lexicon” DH Books, 2006
5) Fitz Maurice, B, Fitz Maurice, W.A., Hernández, H.M., Sotomayor, M. & Smith, M. 2013. "Aztekium hintonii". The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. . Downloaded on 13 December 2014.
6) Member of the iNaturalist Network “Genus Aztekium, a member of Cacti (Family Cactaceae)” web 03 January 2016

Aztekium hintonii Photo by: Peiffer Clement
Aztekium hintonii Photo by: Flavio Agrosi
Aztekium hintonii Photo by: Valentino Vallicelli
Aztekium hintonii Photo by: Valentino Vallicelli

Aztekium hintonii - garden

Origin and Habitat: Garden origin (Nursery produced cultivar)

Accepted name in llifle Database:
Aztekium hintonii Glass & W.A.Fitz Maur.
Cact. Suc. Mex. 37(1): 13 (1992)

Description: This is a genetically stable mutation with variable +/- monstrous, irregularly shaped, ribs with knobby-looking swellings along the stems. Stems are lightly pruinose and branches just from the base and occasionally at higher levels, the apexes easily. The areoles are white and woolly.
Remarks: This clone is similar - and often confused - with Aztekium hintonii forma prolifera that produces an anomalous proliferation of shoots just from the base and occasionally at higher levels. The "prolifera" form is greener, less wooly and will never produce monstrous or dichotomichous or crested apexes.

Subspecies, varieties, forms and cultivars of plants belonging to the Aztekium hintonii group

Aztekium hintonii f. monstruosum Photo by: Cactus Art
Aztekium hintonii f. monstruosum Photo by: Cactus Art
Aztekium hintonii f. monstruosum Photo by: Valentino Vallicelli

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Cultivation and Propagation: It is of slow growth, but not as slow as A. ritterii. It usually takes several years for growth to be noticeable. Needs good drainage and regular water in summer. It should be dried out completely for its winter rest when it will withstand temperatures down to to -4°C for short periods. It prefers some shade.
Once a specimen is established on its own roots it is no trouble to keep, and it becomes an easy plant to manage.
The plants are often grafted to enhance growth speed. They grow best in full sun or half shade, which will help to maintain the lustre of the spines and plants compact. They are prone to mealy bug and red spider mite.
Propagation: From cuttings or preferably by grafting. It It branchs enthusiastically, and offsets are readily available. If you remove an offset , remember to let it dry for a week or so, letting the wound heal (cuttings planted too soon easily rot before they can grow roots), but it is difficult to grow this plant on its own roots and also only few cutting will root.

Watch the video: Unboxing cacti Aztekium collection complete! Plus a very lovely spine g. Spegazzini